Cleansing is the most important step of any skincare routine. Treatments and actives need to be applied to clean skin for them to penetrate and do their job, so getting this step right will pay off in the long term. When we cleanse we are looking to remove dirt, grime, make up, pollution and dead skin cells, but skin should never feel tight nor dry after cleansing. This is a major red flag that you need to choose a different product and change your routine.
How often should we cleanse? Ideally cleansing should be done twice a day; morning and evening. The morning cleanse will prepare the skin for any treatments, SPF or make up that we apply, whilst the evening cleanse is all about removing everything we have put on our skin. Thorough make up removal is key for healthy skin, but even you don’t wear any, cleansing in the evenings is essential to remove accumulation of dirt and grime, and to enable any treatments applied to work overnight.
Proper cleansing starts by choosing the right product for your skin's needs and your lifestyle. There are lots of different cleansers on the market, with many based around foaming ingredients such as SLS (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) which can dry the skin and create inflammation. To know whether the cleanser you have chosen is right for your skin, assess how it feels after cleansing but before applying moisturiser or face oil. Itching, dryness and redness are all signs that your cleanser isn't ideal for your skin.
Oil based cleansers are fantastic for thoroughly breaking down and removing SPF, make up and grime. Some oil-based cleansers, will emulsify with water and others don’t, meaning they are best removed with a warm face cloth. Start by taking your cleanser of choice in the palm of your hand and massaging in to the skin, many formulations will benefit from being applied to dry skin but it is always worth checking instructions on the packaging.
To make sure you are cleansing thoroughly, massage your cleanser into the skin for a few minutes. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the routine, the more we enjoy something the more likely we are to stick with it! Take your cleanser down the neck, and other areas such as behind the ears as this is often missed. Next, remove your cleanser with a warm washcloth or if it emulsifies, gently add water and rinse your skin thoroughly.
If you are wearing heavy make-up or products such as SPF which is difficult to remove, it can be helpful to cleanse twice. The first cleanse will break down and remove the products and the second cleanse is to ensure the skin itself is clean and ready for the rest of your routine. Double cleansing isn’t always necessary, so it is important to see how your skin responds, over cleansing can cause a different set of problems to the ones under cleansing can. Getting the balance right is essential.
At Bodhi and Birch, we have several cleansers to choose from. Avo Bao Cleansing Balm from the newly launched Superfoods Series has become a firm favourite with customers. Packed with superfoods such as avocado, baobab, hemp, green coffee and spirulina, Avo Bao is gently emulsifying, making it a versatile product ideal for most skin types. Dry, dull and sensitive skins will benefit from the anti-oxidant rich Tomato Seed Cleansing Oil, whilst Rosa Rosa Clarifying Cleanser is a gently foaming, creamy cleanser that leaves the skin radiant and refreshed.